The ACS Athens 10th grade “Combo” classes along with the 9th grade Honors “Combo” Jury are embarking on their 16th annual “ President Harry Truman Trial,” an interactive courtroom simulation that evaluates the decisions and methods used to end World War II. This is an entirely student-led event, with both sides of the trial spearheaded by a team of student lawyers and with the jury pools facilitated by year 1 IB History students.
During the past month, students have researched and prepared their roles as either historical figures, or prosecuting and defending attorneys in the “mock trial” of U.S. President Harry S. Truman for “crimes against humanity.” The argumentation, questions, and case structures have been created solely by the students.
This authentic learning experience challenges students to apply their research, critical thinking, and public speaking skills in order to persuade the jury of Truman’s “guilt or innocence.”
Given the large number of 10th grade students, we’ve also added six historical News Reel teams, directed by students who have been utilizing the new ACS Athens Media Studio to create “news” reports that present propaganda style reports of key Cold War events from both the perspectives of the East and West of that time. Their 6-8 minute news productions will be played during the trial at key points for both the defense and prosecution. As well, a team of reporters will set the context for the trial in a live overview of WWII. It will be interesting to see how this experiment goes!
For the record, the verdicts so far (2002-2016) are about tied: 8 Guilty and 7 Not Guilty...
For the first time all 10th graders are involved in some way at the honors and standard levels. Furthermore, this year's trial is set in 1962, at the height of the Cold War, when Harry Truman was 78 years old (he was in office from April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953). The trial will this year invite students to enter arguments from after WWII and will delve into, among others, the Korean War, rebuilding of Europe and Japan, and USA involvement in Cuba.
The “Truman Trial” will be broadcast live, with the schedule as follows:
The Theater at ACS Athens
Day 1: Thursday, May 4: 10:25 to 15:45
- 10:25 - 11:15: Introduction WWII & Opening Statements / Prosecution, Defense (8 min. each)
- 11:15 - 15:45: Prosecution Case WWII | Cold War News Reel Context - Korean War News - Marshall Plan News | Prosecution Case WWII | Start of Defense Case
Day 2: Friday, May 5: 9:00 to 15:45
- 9:00 - 12:50: Defense Case | Cold War News Reel Context - Korean War News - Marshall Plan News
- 12:50 - 13:20: Closing Arguments (6 min. each): Prosecution, Defense
- 13:20 - 15:00: Jury Deliberation / Voting
- 14:00 - 15:00: All 10th Grade Students Report to Learning Commons- Student Affairs. Meeting with the ACS Athens Counselors – Dr. Pelonis
- 15:00 - 15:45: Trial Verdict Announced in the Theater